Aggrandizing preferred aspects of the show while downplaying real issues has become a norm for controversy based reality show on Colors, Bigg Boss 7. With each passing week, and now approaching the much awaited end to the show, the show makes us viewers wonder if this all reality or well planned dramaturgy. Because it doesn’t matter who jumps over the fence, who gets called fair or unfair, who gets evicted, who gets arrested and in fact it doesn’t matter who finally wins the show. The biggest winner is the network. Things happen, hype happens with it and the show’s ratings skyrocket and things calm down till the next bomb is dropped. And the audience lap up every bit of drama. This reminds us of another rather important ‘House’ that has similar traits.
The Other House
We have seen our leaders sidestep real issues while unnecessary amount of attention is given to nonsensical non issues. A good example is perhaps action taken about the lack of law enforcement systems that are capable of preventing violence against women. Instead of discussing the real issue and developing solutions, we see many prominent persons with significant amounts of authority within the system making irrational comments about the choice of attire of women that can be inducive to invite rape. One even went to the extent of implying and encouraging that submissive and pathetic behaviour when faced with aggressive men might get women away from trouble.
Why not address the issue without directing the pointed fingers elsewhere? The same happens inside and outside the Bigg Boss House and exemplifies everything that is wrong with many governance systems across the world. The events surrounding Bigg Boss last week unfolded with the actual issue conveniently evaded and more attention given to a different matter.
Sofia Hayat made an FIR against Armaan Kohli which resulted in Kohli being arrested from the house. He was of course granted bail soon after. Instead of looking at Kohli’s behaviour inside the house that caused his arrest in the first place, all attention was focused on Salman Khan and Kushal Tandon to the point that “KushalTandon” was a trending topic in India through the week without even a hash-tag.
Some say Kushal instigated Sofia. Some say Salman bailed Kohli out. Some say Salman has a grudge against Tandon and some say Tandon is an evil mastermind who has ‘severely upset Bollywood’. It’s a little sad that the industry wasn’t ‘severely upset’ by Kohli’s aggressive behaviour toward every single person inside the house, including Tanisha Mukherji.
Some publications went on to say that the Bollywood industry may boycott Kushal Tandon. On that note, Armaan Kohli has had immense support from the industry all his life and it doesn’t seem to have helped his career much. Whether Kushal makes a name for himself as a successful actor in Bollywood remains to be seen. However, this assumed sentiment of the industry seems ‘severely’ exaggerated but serves to distract attention away from Kohli.
Understand this. Sofia has the right to file a complaint and she practiced that right. Whether it is justified or not will be decided by the judiciary system of India. Respect that. And if Sachiin Joshi wants to file legal action against Kushal Tandon that is his right. If Salman wants to bail Kohli out then it is his right. Why shoot the person who reminded them of that right? You live in a country where a man actually filed a case against an FMCG company because a particular brand of men’s grooming products failed to deliver on the brand’s promised ‘effect’. Don’t be complicit in condoning intimidation, verbal abuse, sexually inappropriate comments and aggressive behaviour due to connections in the industry.
Why was such a lot of hype created over the instigation rather than looking at the real problem? Simply because the police responded faster to Sofia’s complaint than they do to complaints from normal girls who are also harassed, it does not mean that Sofia is hunting for publicity. It could simply mean that the police found their evidence faster because the show has footage of exactly what happened from 80 odd well positioned cameras. By implying that a girl who complains about abuse is doing so for publicity, you effectively discourage any female from coming forward about abuse they face out of fear of similar rebuke. Shame on you!
When Salman Khan himself was arrested sometime back, there was ample coverage on diverse topics ranging from Salman’s life history, dating history and tiff history. If Salman supported Armaan in his bail, it is possible it was done out of empathy which only shows the humane nature of Salman. But using that to stoke the fire about so called animosity against Kushal and again drag attention away from the infamous Mr. Kohli is nothing if not a tactic for distraction by scapegoat. Media has the right for free speech. But when that right is used, it should be used to address the real issues.
Media should not behave like politicians, playing into and even contributing to the dramaturgy behind controversial shows. Discuss the real issue: Armaan Kohli’s behaviour and his serious need for anger management. Otherwise, isn’t the media abating the suppression of actual issues by crowding them out with side stories? Aren’t they inducing the audience to stop paying attention to Armaan’s bullying by simply diverting attention to Salman Khan and Kushal Tandon? Or do you honestly believe that Armaan Kohli’s behaviour is right? Irrespective of the incidents or the actual events that took place, the common denominator in many scenarios seems to be Salman and Kushal who become everyone’s scapegoat for distraction.
10% Actual Events, 90% Reaction
When Andy behaved in a perverse manner offending many women inside and outside the house, Kushal reacted. Andy’s perversity went unnoticed, Kushal got evicted. In the tiff between Tanisha and Kushal, both Tanisha and Kushal were at fault. However, the incident was allowed to escalate to a point where Salman’s name got dragged in for favouring Tanisha.
Notice the difference in Tanisha’s reaction and that of Sangram and Kamya. The latter pair also stayed inside a similar box and in fact stayed in the box for the longest time in the history of the show. Heaven’s fecal matter was thrown inside the box, some of which even fell on Sangram. Tanisha’s drama seems a bit silly and overrated in comparison and yet a lot more hype was created because she reacted and then Kushal reacted and then Salman reacted.
Perhaps the lesson for the audience to learn from this show is to think twice before reacting to the incidents in our own mundane lives.
The finalists of the show are Armaan, Ajaz, Tanisha, Gauhar, Sangram and Andy. If they were political leaders who were asking for your votes, what would they represent? Armaan reminds us of an American favourite cheer “BE AGGRESSIVE B-E AGGRESSIVE!” His motto is to get in everyone’s face when faced with opposition, oppress them, intimidate them and get his way. He is the influential bully that no one wants to cross.
Tanisha is more a politician’s housewife rather than a politican, like her forgettable role in Sarkar Raj. She is submissive, docile and only voices her opinion if the opponent isn’t stronger than her.
Sangram is the most politically correct competitor in the house so far and plays a fair game. He is your good guy who tries to do the right thing but is struggling to find his footing because of stronger opponents but he is hanging on with all his might. With his achievements for the country he has already proven his worth. A good choice to vote for.
Andy knows how to get out of trouble and to a large extent he is quite honest. Even though he acted like a pervert for a task, he did apologise and repent for what he did. He is your stereotypical young and upcoming politician who’s bound to make some errors in judgement that people are willing to forgive him for. Not a bad choice to vote for.
Gauhar should be your first choice if you are a feminist and believe in speaking for what is right no matter what. She was the only one who stood up for Elli when Armaan misbehaved with her and she has proven to be fair in the tasks. This girl speaks with her heart and has been consistent with her stand.
Ajaz is the court jester to Armaan’s evil King! He is loudmouthed, plays the game well and is a better choice than Armaan Kohli. So, who gets your vote?
Author : Manvira